Liverpool winger Ryan Babel looks set to move to Bundesliga outfit TSG 1899 Hoffenheim following his club’s acceptance of an offer from the German club to purchase the player.
The value of the bid is not yet known publically, however it is likely to be a significant figure as the 24 year old Dutch winger was purchased by his current club from Ajax for £11.5 million in the summer of 2007. Since then the Dutchman has gone on to make 146 appearances for the Premier League club, and even though 81 of those have come from the substitutes bench, it is still thought the Liverpool rate him.
Babel will now travel to Germany to discuss personal terms with the side that currently lie in ninth place in the Bundesliga.
If Babel were to move it would signal the end of a disappointing spell in England, in which he has managed to net just 22 goals. Many of these have come against smaller clubs in the league, or in European competition against lower seeded teams in the group stages. For the majority of his time he had found himself warming the bench, firstly under Rafa Benitez, who brought him to the club, then Roy Hodgson, and now Kenny Dalglish.
This has been reflected in his selection for the Dutch national team. Since his debut in 2005 the Amsterdam born player has made 40 appearances for his country, however, much like at club level, the majority of these caps have come from the bench. Although he was selected for the Netherlands’ 2010 World Cup squad that progressed to the final before losing out to Spain, the tournament will have been a disappointing one for Babel as he failed to make a single appearance in South Africa.
It had looked like Babel might have a place in the Liverpool side following the appointment of Kenny Dalglish. Where Hodgson had favoured a ridged four-four-two, Dalglish looks to be deploying a four-three-three, a line-up that would surely would favour the pace and strength of Babel. However, it could well be that Babel’s public outburst last weekend, in which he posted a mocked up picture of referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt on Twitter following his side’s loss in the 3rd round of the FA Cup to the Manchester Club, is the final straw for both the player and his employers.
While publically Babel has accepted the £10,000 fine handed down by the FA, it may well have led him to reassess his options in light of Hoffenheim’s bid, and it could well be that Liverpool, tired of waiting for a player once considered a hot prospect, have decided to cut their losses and take a significant sum of money that could well be used to begin rebuilding a squad that dearly needs fresh faces and desire.